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Who Can You Trust Today?




May 24, 2017

This is no idle question. In this week’s news is a recent study having to do with American citizenry’s search for truth: Conclusion being there is no longer any one source the majority of Americans trust as offering objective truth they can bank on. Can believe.

I have found this to be an accurate summation in terms of my own search for truth. Time and New York Times are center-left; Newsweek (sadly no more) and Wall Street Journal are center-right; on television, MSNBC is extreme left; CNN is center-left; and Fox is extreme right. If I determine to track down truth, I’m forced to consult all of them—which I do. But since the average person is not a historian of ideas, taking time only to consider one or two sources, truth will be out of reach for him/her.

Politicians have long been known for speaking out of both sides of their mouths at once—but never to the extent that we are experiencing today!

This disastrous-for-democracy reality has been a long time coming. For several generations now, print has been an endangered species. Once great libraries dumping primary sources (think books and magazines) in favor of digitizing everything; encyclopedias, dictionaries, and thesauruses also being digitized; even paper maps becoming passé; home libraries—what are they?

Dystopian writers and thought-leaders have long feared dictators who would (a la 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451) destroy democracies by getting rid of all printed records. Once that is accomplished, the people cannot disprove the dictator’s version of the truth. But it isn’t just malevolence we’ll need to fear. For instance, just during the last week, hundreds of millions of people across the globe have been hacked into, held hostage, and forced to pay up in order to ransom their computerized records. So now, what-if?

What if the next global catastrophe has to do with the destruction of the grid? For some time now, governmental leaders have feared such a thing—but not enough to take serious steps to prevent it. Thus it remains today more of a “when” rather than an “if.” It is said by those in the know that it might take generations to recover from such a cataclysm.

Let’s take the U.S. for instance. With clerks unable to add, subtract, multiply, or divide without electronic calculators (today’s reality for millions), how could businesses function? Just imagine life without refrigeration or air-conditioning, lights at night, heating during winters, gas pumps when traveling, stop lights on streets, air-flights, ability to fix mechanical things—oh one could go on and on.

But more to our point, we have now reached the place where Siri has the answer to everything. Consequently, why have a paper back-up to anything? No longer any need for libraries or printed records of anything. Result: When that grid goes out, with it would go civilization and life as we know it. We’d be back to the frontier, with no one to protect you or your family.

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So, before it’s too late, let’s rethink our race to computerize all knowledge and destroy all printed records, books, magazines, newspapers, etc. Let’s each, as a committee of one, begin building our own family libraries, subscribing to our own magazines and newspapers, and purchasing our own books. By so doing, each of us would be able to find truth on our own, and thereby help preserve our fragile democracy so that our descendants may have lives worth living.

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